Are you heading to wonderful Indonesia and looking for a unique experience to add to your Indonesian vacation? How about cruising down the Sekonyer River in Tanjung Puting National Park in a klotok a traditional wooden boat searching for wild Borneo Orangutans? I recently spent two weeks in Indonesia and my favorite night was the one I spent on a klotok boat laughing with friends in our mosquitos nets.
Borneo Orangutans In Tanjung Puting National Park
So you are probably wondering where the heck is Tanjung Puting National Park? Tanjung Puting National Park is located on the island of Borneo, which is the third largest island in the world. Borneo is split between three countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.
The easiest way to get to Tanjung Puting National Park is to fly to Pangkalanbuun (PKN). I started my trip to Indonesia in Jakarta, where I jumped on a 1-hour direct flight to Pangkalanbuun (PKN), and then boarded a klotok boat for a 2-day orangutan tour with Orangutan Days in Tanjung Puting National Park. Prices for an orangutan tour vary based on the number of people in your group, for a 2 day/1 night trip it averages between $200-550 USD. This includes 3 meals a day, airport transfers, local tour guide, entrance fees, conservation fee, no hidden fees. At the time of writing this article flights to Pangkalanbuun from Jakarta 2 months in advance were $63 one way, locals tell me flights vary $45-80 on average.
Recommended Tour: $325 3 Day/2 night Orangutan Houseboat Tour
There are no hotels located in Tanjung Puting National Park, so spending the night on the boat in Tanjung Puting National park is a must! Once the sun sets, the sky fills up with a million stars and the frogs and other jungle creatures start to sing you to sleep. It’s kinda like the jungle noise app you have on your phone, but real life.
When I was first told I’d be sleeping on a mattress on the floor of a wooden boat with a mosquito net protecting me, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Yes, the accommodation is pretty basic, but I was there for the Borneo Orangutan experience and a luxurious Indonesian beach vacation was waiting for me in Bali. It’s the perfect way to explore Tanjung Puting National Park and see the Borneo Orangutans. All meals are served on the boat since you spend the night on the boat there is more time to spot wildlife and more time in Tanjung Puting National park.
As we cruised down the Sekonyer River in Tanjung Puting National Park I saw orangutans swinging from the trees. Thanks to our local guides for spotting the crocodiles, hornbills, and orangutans. There is something magical about seeing wildlife in their natural habitat.
Our boat cruise visited two camps in which we were able to get really close to the orangutans. Within a few hours of entering the park, we were at our first stop Tanjung Harapan a rehabilitation center for orphaned orangutans.
We hiked into the jungle for about 15-minutes to get to an area where they feed the rehabilitated orangutans every afternoon. I suggest getting their early to get a good viewing spot, as it can get crowded during high season (June through October). We visited the second week of August and it was crowded at times. Make sure to have your camera on sports mode so that you capture them swinging between the trees.
Day 2 of our Borneo Orangutan tour we visited a similar camp, Camp Leaky which is where research on orangutans is performed. Camp Leaky is also where the Orangutan Foundation International releases rehabilitated orangutans. We watched an orangutan family enjoy a Sunday dinner, ok a banana dinner but it actually was Sunday, therefore it was a Sunday dinner. I loved watching the baby orangutan just cling to his mother while the older orangutan sibling was swinging between the trees. After a while, the whole family disappeared into the jungle with their hands & mouths full of bananas.
Before you know it our 2 days in Tanjung Puting National park was over and it was time to head back to the airport to continue exploring wonderful Indonesia on our way to explore some amazing temples in Bali. I could have easily spent another night on the boat. I secretly loved not having phone signal…the jungle sounds are so much more soothing than an incoming email! Til next time Borneo.